Earlier this year, iD Software released the newest game in the storied Doom series, and despite negative reception to early builds of the game, the final product turned out to be the most entertaining and bad-ass shooter in years. According to the developers, the final build of the game was inspired by “Huge demons, fast movement, big fucking guns and metal” and it certainly shows. That design philosophy extends to the incredible soundtrack that goes a long way towards selling the whole aesthetic. Bringing back the talent of Australian composer Mick Gordon, who also did the soundtrack for the excellent Wolfenstein: The New Order and season one of Microsoft’s rebooted Killer Instinct, Doom’s soundtrack, officially (finally) released yesterday. It’s over 2 hours of grooving metallic riffs and pounding industrial/electronic elements blended together so seamlessly you’ll wonder why it hasn’t ever been done this well before.
It’s rare for a soundtrack to have this kind of crossover appeal to fans of a specific genre, while being able to stand on it’s own as a complete album instrumentally, rather than something to listen to and remind yourself of the cool parts of the game. Doom’s soundtrack does both, succeeding as both a callback to the best moments in the game and a great album in its own right. Gordon builds on his work with Wolfenstein and Killer Instinct by further blurring the line between electronic music and metal, and his use of guitar effects and post-processing on his guitar tracks is both inventive and inspiring. It’s no wonder he got Fredrick Thordendal (Meshuggah) to contribute to the Wolfenstein soundtrack. His style is the perfect mesh of the modern groove/new prog guitar sound with industrial electronic elements. More bands would do well to give this soundtrack a listen, as quite a few could learn a thing or two from this album. It’s a real shame that Gordon isn’t more well know in the metal community, but that seems to be changing with both this release and the Wolfenstein OST.
Gordon’s use of 8 and 9 string guitars not only for the ultra-low end grooves but also for the creepy, higher register atmospherics that mix well with the churning industrial elements is a good counter to anyone still complaining about extended range guitars not being utilized well in metal. Though the Meshuggah influence is there for all to see, the melodic sensibilities are far more in line with more traditional groove and industrial metal. Think Fear Factory with harsher electronics and a fixation on killing demons, and you’d be pretty close. There isn’t a single track on this disc that doesn’t put a big, dumb smile on my face when I hear it. Try listening to “BFG Division”, linked below, without wanting to disrespect your surroundings.
If you haven’t yet played Doom, you’re missing out on one of the most frenetic and fun gaming experiences in recent memory, and if you haven’t yet listened to the soundtrack, you’re missing out on one of the most pummeling, energetic two hours you can possibly have listening to music. The bar for video game scores has been raised just a little bit more, and this OST has me excited to see what Gordon comes up with for the soundtrack he’s composing to the upcoming shooter, Prey.